Middlefield (previously known as Slant) was a Grand Rapids based pop-rock band signed to Mackinaw Harvest Music Group BMI/Northern Edge Records featuring vocalists Tim Alexander and Christopher Andrus, alongside drummer Brenden Stark. The band released two albums and gained steady hometown notoriety, opening for major acts such as Eve 6 before its dissolution.
Middlefield was influenced by 90s powerpop and pop-punk acts, such as Green Day, Weezer, and Blink 182, and The Juliana Theory.
The Right Amount of Rock (2002)
Middlefield was formed by cousins Christopher Andrus and Brenden Stark, alongside vocalist Tim Alexander. The band's debut album The Right Amount of Rock was released under the band name Slant. It was recorded at Mackinaw Harvest Studios with Michael Crittenden and was mastered by John Fritz, and released under the Mackinaw Harvest Studios label Mackinaw Harvest Music Group. Also appearing on the album were bassist Mike Riske, and lead guitarist Dave Gracia.
The album is currently out of print.
The Right Amount of Rock Track Listing
- Coming Back
- 43rd Time
- What's Gotten Into Me
- Shoulda Known
- A Million Times
- On My Mind
- Loving You
- Shut it Off
- Here I Am
- A Song For Her
Backyard All-Stars (2004)
Middlefield added bassist J.R. Rennuson and released its sophomore album Backyard All-Stars in 2004. The album was once again recorded by Michael Crittenden at Mackinaw Harvest Studios and released under Mackinaw Havest Music Group BMI and Northern Edge Records..
The album features Tim Alexander and Christopher Andrus sharing lead-vocal duties, with Alexander singing leads on "Battered and Bruised," "You're Gonna Love Me," "One Shot," "Devlin's Law," "Perma-Bad Attitude," "Look at the Way," "If You Want Me to Go," "Blueprint for a Breakup," and "Need You Here."
Meanwhile, Andrus sings leads on "Where You Belong," "No Promises," "Porchlight," "Backyard All-Stars," and "Story of My Life."
Alexander and Andrus share lead vocal duties on "World's Greatest" and "Hidden Track 1 (Pizza Pie)."
The band released a video for "One Shot" and a 10-minute miniature documentary documenting the recording of the album produced by Brooke LaLonde and David Ruck of the Grand Valley State University School of Communications.
Backyard All-Stars Track Listing
- "Battered and Bruised"
- "Where You Belong"
- "You're Gonna Love Me"
- "One Shot"
- "Hanging Out"
- "World's Greatest"
- "Devlin's Law"
- "Perma-Bad Attitude"
- "No Promises"
- "Look at the Way"
- "If You Want Me to Go"
- "JR Yanks It"
- "Backyard All-Stars"
- "Story of My Life"
- "Blueprint for a Breakup"
- "Need You Here"
- "Hidden Track 1 (Pizza Pie)"
- "Hidden Track 2 (Stratego)"
Christopher Andrus after Middlefield
After the band split, Chris Andrus went on to front Grand Rapids indie-rock group Bless You Boys, which released two successful albums and was the subject of a documentary titled "Is Everybody Happy?" Andrus also followed up his 2005 solo album Cut to the Quick with 2010's The Glass Man, and 2017's Rare Earth Elements.
Andrus also worked as a producer and engineer alongside the long-time producer of his musical endeavors, Michael Crittenden at Mackinaw Harvest Studios. He eventually went on to co-found The Mitten Brewing Company and its charity organization The Mitten Foundation.
Brenden Stark and Tim Alexander after Middlefield
Brenden Stark and Tim Alexander went on to found pop-rock group Chasing the Sky, and released two albums together: The Empty Chair - EP and King of the Losing Side. The group sold several songs to 20th Century Fox, Glee, Chevrolet, and Western Digital. The band's music appeared in "Is Everybody Happy?", a documentary about former middlefield bandmate Chris Andrus' band Bless You Boys; along with GR30K, a film satirizing the group's home city of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Stark also spent his time between the dissolution of Middlefield and the formation of Chasing the Sky releasing his solo album Avenues with Michael Crittenden at Mackinaw Harvest Studios. In 2018 he removed all online versions of the album in anticipation of a re-recorded and rewritten version to include a reworking of the Chasing the Sky song "Colorblind (The Ghost in the Passenger Seat)" from King of the Losing Side, and lyrics contributed by Chasing the Sky songwriter Kay VanAntwerpen and Middlefield/Bless You Boys songwriter Christopher Andrus.
J.R. Renusson after Middlefield
J.R. Renusson purchased former Grand Rapids punk club Skelletones and opened all-ages venue MXTP, with numerous investments that included musician Butch Walker.